Sunday, September 9, 2012

...and I thought Fredericton was awesome

Dear NBCCD and Freddy Beach: I'm sorry, but there's another school, and another city. I'm falling head-over-heels in love with them. It's not you, it's me. The city is so beautiful, liberal and open to different ideas. Pride flags aren't uncommon here (**happy dance**). There are lots of people with piercings and/or colourful hair--more than in F'ton. There are all sorts of characters, doing all sorts of awesome, quirky things.

I'm so sorry.

Okay, I'm not ditching NBCCD or F'ton, but I am falling in love with Halifax and NSCAD. And I'm not one bit sorry about it.

Saturday: Mom and I drove to Halifax, stopping at numerous Irvings along the way. Once at the residence, I met my roommate (a woman from China), and carted several boxes of stuff up to the third floor. By the end, Mom and I were exhausted.

Sunday: That morning, we walked around the city. Mom showed me where things were, and we walked to the Granville campus, where my classes will be this semester. When I saw the banners with "NSCAD University" written on them, I got really excited: I couldn't believe I was there, on the NSCAD campus. Mom took a photo of me with one of the lions at the entrance to the plaza outside the school and we went into the university as far as the foyer, and I peeked through the library door.

Monday: Mom left early that morning, waking me up to say good-bye before she left. When I woke up again, I had only a dim memory of her farewell.

I spent the day running errands at the university whose res I'm staying at and walking down to the Port campus. At Port, I looked at the scholarship students' show in the foyer, and then headed back to res.

Tuesday: My first time past the entrance at any of the campuses! That day was Orientation Day, which started bright and early with breakfast at eight-thirty at Port. And let's just say that the student union, SUNSCAD, knows how to feed the students: muffins and croissants and cinnamon buns, oh, my!

Breakfast was followed by welcome speeches from the acting president ("acting but not pretending"), Daniel O'Brian, Terry Bailey (admissions and enrolment services director--I emailed back-and-forth with him in April), SUNSCAD (who delivered half of their welcome in the form of a rap), and others. Terry said that this year's portfolios were the best he'd ever seen (which got a loud round of applause from everyone and a proud whoop from me). Daniel reassured the frosh in the audience that it's okay to be nervous, anxious, etc., as well as being excited about this new chapter in their lives. As someone who still bears the bruises and scars of NBCCD's FVA year, I agreed with him completely.

That was followed by lunch, and again the university proved that they know how to feed us students--even the vegetarians. Yay for vegetarian burritos!

And then the part I'd been waiting for all day: tours! Mine was at 11:45, and my group was lead around Port, and then across the boardwalk and up to Granville at what felt like a breakneck speed. I could barely keep track of all the twists and turns we made during the tour of Granville: remind me how we got to this part of campus? Granville truly is a labyrinth, just as SUNSCAD said in the orientation guide. It's the kind of place that I have to go through slowly if I'm to have the slimmest chance of figuring it out. Here's a good example of all the twists and turns one has to make in order to get from Point A to Point B at Granville:

After orientation was over, I had nothing better to do so I decided to explore the city, specifically Lower Water St. Let's just say that I regretted leaving my camera in my room that day... However, I enjoyed checking out all the shops, listening to the buskers--and seeing Theodore Tugboat (the TV show of the same name takes place in a harbour "modelled after" Halifax's harbour).

Wednesday: Table Day! And WHIMIS training. On Tuesday, I'd been getting the feeling that SUNSCAD tends to be rather activist and militant--more like a Quebec student union. So I asked about that--and I was right. Because none of the other provinces has a student population anywhere near as big as Quebec's, the student unions in those provinces don't have as much power when lobbying the government--but they can still kick ass while doing it. I picked up so many pins and info sheets that I wished that I'd brought a bag. I made do with shoving the loot in my purse.

By the time I headed home, it was raining hard. My pants got soaked within a few blocks, and I had an umbrella malfunction (the umbrella is still usable, FYI). I stopped in at a gallery to take a break from the rain and found out that I wasn't too far from a bus stop. So I went to the stop and waited for a bus that would be going by my place. And I waited, and waited, and waited... Finally, the right bus showed up and I went home.

Thursday: The first day of school! And what a first day it was. After a stop at Canada Post to send off my student loan, I got to NSCAD early so that I could find my way to my classroom. I admit that I both love and hate all the twists and turns and the "can't get there from here" layout of Granville: that campus has serious character (way more than Port, which is very modern and industrial-looking), but when you're trying to find your way to your first class, it's really easy to get lost. Eventually, I poked my head in a random door and asked where my classroom was. Turns out, I'd gone in the wrong entrance and I had to go out, around, in the main entrance, and go all the way to the top floor. Done. After that, I managed to get to the classroom with no issues.

My class that day was Photography Beyond the Frame. It's taught by Bob Bean, who's the studio head for the photo studio--and a NSCAD alumnus. He's very different from Peter, but I like the guy. And I like the class. For the first project (due in two weeks), he gave us a list of quotes about photography. We're to choose five that really get a reaction--positive or negative--out of us, and make five photos, each inspired by a quote.

Class was over by 4:30, a full hour before it was supposed to end, and because I had nothing better to do I decided to check out the NSCAD Art Supply store, which, unlike NBCCD's store, is open to the public, and I bought some things with the school's logo on them. After that, I went down to Lower Water St. and photographed all the things that I'd wanted to on Tuesday.

In the Granville Mall, where the NSCAD Art Supply store is located.

This memorial is just past the wharf.

I spotted several pride flags downtown, and I love that businesses fly them.

St. Matthew's United Church--I couldn't help but notice the juxtaposition of the Bell building and the church. Two different parts of life side by side.

All the mailboxes in Halifax are like this. I like the postal code "graffiti": it adds character.

Friday: Back to basics: because I couldn't get credit for Introductory Photography, which is a 2000-level course and is like a combination of Film and Darkroom Techniques and Creativity in Photography (and as a result is a really good example of the differences between NBCCD and NSCAD), I have to take it. But although the first class was a bit boring, I know that sometimes it's good to go back to the basics of your medium, be it the violin, ballet, oil painting, pastels, etc. Plus, they cover things that either NBCCD glossed over, or that I managed to forget in two years.

Saturday: I spent about half the day trying to get myself back into the routine of doing homework, and then doing it. I shot most of the roll that I'm to shoot for Intro Photography, which is due on Tuesday and which I'll develop tomorrow. I also went over the handout of quotes that we were given for Photography Beyond the Frame. And after that, I spent forever trying to get laundry done (oh, the joys of learning how to work card-operated machines).

Sunday: Today, I plan to finish off that roll of film and come up with ideas for the Photography Beyond the frame assignment. And maybe call my parents.


What I did or didn't do this summer: about half of my to-do list didn't get done, and about half of that was because I simply wasn't able to do it. The most important thing on the "didn't get done list" was the Banff workshop: internal funding isn't available for the Performance Photography workshop, so that was out because it was too late to hunt around for external scholarships, grants, etc., in NB. And although I applied everywhere I could, I didn't get a summer job. But I did do the Sunbury Shores Guess Who? show again, and I started a photo project based on Beethoven's Missa Solemnis. And I wrote a lot. And I went to my (first-ever) graduation. And, of course, I went to a Passamaquoddy Bay Symphony concert--my last until after I finish at NSCAD.

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